The etymology of the word dwarf is contested, and scholars have proposed varying theories about the origins of the being, including that dwarfs may have originated as nature spirits or beings associated with death, or as a mixture of concepts. Competing etymologies include a basis in the Indo-European root *dheur- (meaning "damage"), the Indo-European root *dhreugh (whence modern German Traum/English dream and trug "deception"), and comparisons have been made with Sanskrit dhvaras (a type of demonic being).
After the Christianization of the Germanic peoples, tales of dwarfs continued to be told in the folklore of areas of Europe where Germanic languages were (and are) spoken. Today dwarfs appear commonly in modern popular culture.
Early SightingsIn 1138, It was reported that a “dwarf” was captured in the cellar of a German monastery. It was very black and did not speak any known language. He was tied up briefly but the rope was slackened to see what he would do. He returned to the cellar where he was found and there raised a stone on the ground and disappeared through a tunnel where nobody was able to follow him. The mysterious tunnel was reportedly sealed with a cross.
In 1635 Hans Krepel saw a "moss woman" near Saalfeld and had a chat with her. On August 18, 1644, Kürfurst Johann Georg I caught a female dwarf 2 feet in height near Chemnitz (today, Karl Marx Stadt). An earthwoman tried to steal a human child and replace it with her own near Saalfeld in 1662. A strange and tiny humanoid creature dwelled in a cellar in Lutzen, and was observed several times in 1665. A year before, an earthdwarf was observed near Dresden.
Another dwarf was seen in Torgau in March 1669.
Venezuelan Hairy Dwarves
- Main article: Venezuelan Hairy Dwarves
In December 22, 1954, in Venezuela, Gustavo Gonzales and Jose Ponce encountered four hairy dwarf-like creatures on a hunting trip in the Amazon.
The dwarves were seen stepping out of a hovering craft, and attempted to forcibly abduct two young men who were out hunting. One of the hunters hit an attacking dwarf with the butt of his rifle, only to have it splinter into pieces, as if it had struck a solid rock.
- Main article: Lautoka Dwarves
In 1975, Students from Lautoka Methodist School in Fiji, reported seeing about eight mysterious little figures, believed to be dwarfs, in reeds near the school.
The figures, about 2ft in height and covered with black hair, hastily moved away into nearby bushes when the children began to approach them.
According to students from Lautoka Methodist Mission School, the figured, believed to be dwarfs, hastily moved away into nearby bushes when the children began to approach them. Apparently six different students, ranging in age from 10-14, actually saw the figures while returning home from school 'One showed by his teeth and then ran away,' claimed one student..."